Ah yes, the purple stone. Amethyst, the birthstone for February got its name from the Greek word “amethystos” which means “not drunken”. Amethyst was suppose to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus which is why wineglasses were often carved from it. Amethyst is also the purple variety of quartz family. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia.
Garnet, the January birthstone, is in my opinion, underappreciated. Garnet derived its name from the Latin word granatus, meaning like a grain, which refers to the mode of occurrence where crystals resemble grains or seeds embedded in the matrix. The name is also thought to be derived from the pomegranate fruit because some garnet crystals bear a resemblance to pomegranate seeds. Believe it or not, garnet displays the greatest variety of color of any mineral, occurring in every color except blue. Garnets can sometimes exhibit optical phenomena such as asterism (a star shaped pattern of reflections), chatoyancy (a “cat’s eye” seen in reflected light), or a color change when viewed under different types of lighting.
Tourmalines come in a wide variety of different colors. In fact, tourmaline has one of the widest color ranges of any gemstone species, occurring in various shades of virtually every hue.
This is the part 1 of a two part post on tourmalines, one of October’s birthstones.